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Message From Secretary General Of Caribbean Tourism Organization

Caribbean Tourism Day: celebrating diversity

eTN Staff Writer  Nov 04, 2009

On the occasion of Caribbean Tourism Day, Hugh Riley, Secretary General of the Caribben Tourism Organization sends this message. "Each year, at this time, we pause to reflect on the immense and invaluable contribution that tourism makes to the economic, social, and cultural well-being of the Caribbean. No other sector does more to enrich the quality of life of the people of this region. No other sector cuts across every facet of Caribbean life the way tourism does.

"The sector brings in an estimated US$25 billion a year in revenue, helping to improve education, enhance health care, develop infrastructure, maintain security, and keep people employed. The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) - an international agency responsible for enhancing the development of the region‚Äôs tourism sector ‚Äď will continue to work with our partners in both the public and private sectors, as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to promote sustainable tourism as a means of bringing direct benefits to our communities, alleviating poverty, and preserving our cultural heritage and our environment.

"The theme for Caribbean Tourism Day this year is: 'Tourism: Celebrating Diversity.' This theme, chosen by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for World Tourism Day in September, seems tailor made for the Caribbean. It is true that the natural beauty of our region and the warmth and hospitality of our people help attract over 40 million stay-over and cruise visitors to our shores each year. It is equally true, however, that our guests from both within and outside the Caribbean are fascinated, spellbound even, by our rich and compelling diversity. Our multi-ethnic culture and heritage: English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Indian, Chinese, indigenous peoples, African, and the various blends of all of these in our individual territories, are powerful ingredients that speak to the rich cultural diversity that we celebrate in the Caribbean. We need to continue to showcase this diversity, in all its splendor, in the development of our tourism products and services.

"We are confident that Caribbean tourism will survive the current global economic crisis because of the sector’s resilience and the resilience of our people. We can emerge from this crisis much stronger if we continue to work together to upgrade the quality and competitiveness of our product, build a highly-professional tourism workforce and underpin all tourism activity that we are engaged in by following responsible and sustainable tourism practices. As we explore creative methods to do so, giving greater value to our rich cultural diversity is a good way to proceed."

Caribbean Tourism Day: celebrating diversity
Hugh Riley / Image via

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